You've been dating the man forever, and he has yet to cough up a ring. You spend every single weekend with him. You endure his obnoxious buddies from college. You put up with his lunatic mother. You alternate spending holidays with his family and yours, spending handsome sums on gifts for his nieces and nephews. You cook for him. You've baked him birthday cakes. Occasionally you even do his laundry.
Should you give him an ultimatum? Doesn't he owe it to you to marry you after all you've done for him?
After all, it was you who decided to endure people you don't like. It was your idea to cozy up to his nieces and nephews to show him how much you love children. You cooked and baked and did his laundry to prove that you're superior wife material. All this in the hopes of winning the ultimate prize package: The ring! The dress! The 7-day/6-night trip to the romantic destination of your choice!
And all he ever does is take you for granted.
Of course he takes you for granted. You don't have a life of your own. Your goal in life is to get married, you're pinning your hopes on him, and he knows it. Put yourself in his place:
Wouldn't you take you for granted?
If you truly love him (and consider this carefully; do you love him, or do you love the idea of getting married?), don't give him an ultimatum. Instead, ask yourself: Do you really want to marry a guy you had to strong arm? Don't you deserve better?
Ask yourself what marriage to an ambivalent husband might be like. If the guy takes you for granted now, how bad will he be in five years when you've given birth to children who scribble on the kitchen wall, and he slumps on the couch while you scurry to scrub it off? How bad will he be in 10 years when, on top of cooking, cleaning, and laundry to do, you still have homework to supervise and Halloween costumes to make?
Stop yourself now. Otherwise, one day sooner than you think, you will find yourself among the legions of women who complain that their husbands never do a damn thing around the house, and you'll have nobody to blame but yourself.
So, take a step back. Decide what you really want from life. Determine whether this particular man is the right companion for the trip. Cease spending all your free time with him. Replace a bad habit with a good one by taking a class, signing up for yoga, or going away for the occasional weekend with the friends you've been neglecting since you hooked up with What's-His-Name. In other words, don't be so available.
Fill your time with opportunities to meet new people. Get to know yourself better (you're worth getting to know). By all means, hang out with the guy every now and then but limit time with his family. Resist all inclinations to "wife and mother" him. Let him bake you a cake for a change.
Will he come to his senses? Will he fall on both knees and make all your Cinderella fantasies come true?
Well, here are three possibilities:
- He won’t miss you all that much, freeing you to find happiness elsewhere;
- You'll realize you don't miss him all that much and hold out for a man who'll love you as much as you love him; or
- He'll ask you to marry him, and you'll tell him yes or no, confident that you're making the best choice for your own future happiness.
Keep in mind that if you say yes, the guy's obnoxious college buddies and lunatic mother are part of the package. If you're clever, you may get away with scaling back on his nieces and nephews' gifts a bit. How much baking, cooking, and laundry you take on, however, is entirely up to you.
Terry Hernon MacDonald is the author of "How to Attract and Marry the Man of Your Dreams." Visit her website at http://www.marrysmart.com